Help Your Kids with PCS Fears {VLOG}

PCS’ing (or moving for you civilian-type folks) is stressful and difficult for everyone, but kids seem to have a particularly hard time with major moves. They worry about never seeing their friends again and not making good friends at their new home. They sometimes are scared by the idea of a stranger packing all their clothes and toys in boxes and then driving away with them, and then there are the fears of the parents … how will I get my kids in a car or on a plane from point A to point B keeping them occupied and entertained! THIS VIDEO WILL HELP! Enjoy!

 

 

{Supplies}

  • One-inch binder
  • Tab dividers
  • Printer paper (regular or cardstock)
  • Clear insert pages (full and split)
  • small stickers to mark as you go through states and places
  • crayons, markers, pens, pencils to decorate it all

{Helpful Links}

Tomorrow morning, I’ll be kicking of “30 Days of Being Thankful” on Facebook and Twitter! I hope you’ll join me!

#MILFAMMonday Weekly Feature

Military family linky party every Monday at www.backonland.com!

 

This week’s #milfammonday linky party brought lots of great posts!

There were ball gowns, homecomings (<3), and even a cemetery marriage proposal, but

my WEEKLY FEATURE pick is …

saying-goodbye

Thank you, Jo, My Gosh, for linking up this beautiful piece about how hard ANY good-bye truly is. Too often military spouses become so focused on our own good-byes that we grow jaded and forget how hard other good-byes can be!

I hope you’ll come back next week for #milfammonday and another round of GREAT military family stories!

A Marriage Retreat with My Sailor

CREDO Marriage Retreat: A weekend away and a lifetime of lessons!

Earlier this year and creeping up on our 14th wedding anniversary, Josh and I signed up for the CREDO Marriage Retreat offered on our base. We’ve been together long enough to know that we need a little tune up every once in a while plus they offer a free two-night hotel stay as part of the package. We’d heard of it before, but this time the stars of our schedules aligned, and we were actually able to attend! We were both pretty excited to see what a marriage retreat would be like (and to have our first kid free weekend in about five years) as we arrived and checked in to our room.

But then we walked downstairs, and I got a bad feeling as soon as we walked in. There were 12 pairs of chairs facing the front, each with a copy of “Fighting for Your Marriage” on top and a box of tissues below. We looked at each other in silent communique, “Should we ditch?” I am not a public crier, and I certainly don’t want to watch anyone else bawling. I was immediately skeptical. I was ready to turn tail and run, but I’m oh-so-glad we didn’t.

First we were asked to introduce one another. Say your name, your partner’s name, and something you appreciate about your spouse. Josh, my quiet guy, stood up and announced himself and me and then went on to tell the entire room how he appreciated every minute that I spend taking caring of our family while he deploys and how he appreciates that he doesn’t ever have to worry if I’ll get it all done.

I don’t remember what I said; I was too busy falling in love with him again.

Over the next two days we listened to the Chaplain talk about communication and verbal and non-verbal cues. We practiced talking and listening. Turns out the latter is not our strong suit, but we worked on it together. We discussed how we could spend better quality time, and then we spent better quality time, just the two of us, and really talked and listened more efficiently that we have in years.

By the end of the weekend I totally got it. Offering two free nights away isn’t just a way to lure couples in; it’s a strategy to get you to focus on each other as people. Not as mom and dad. Not as the sailor and spouse. Just as two people who love each other enough to spend a weekend creating a better marriage.

I honestly can’t say enough great things about the CREDO Marriage Retreat. It was a free weekend (hotel and meals included), and the classes and discussion were amazing. The scary books were only a small part of the weekend, and the tissues never came out of the box. We had lots of free time to enjoy one another and the local area, and I am so glad to say we took complete advantage of every bit of it!

Side note: These are a few of the books we used and LOVED from the retreat. Affiliate links included.

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A Halfway Box for You!

Is your service member deploying soon? Have you spent hours decorating a halfway box? Have you scoured the stores for his favorite snacks and fun gifts? Are your hands permanently clawed from all the letters and cards you’ve written? Well maybe it’s time to think about A Halfway Box for YOU!

A Halfway box for You! (Why should your sailor or soldier get all the fun!)

First you need to decide who’s filling your halfway box? Approach your guy and see if he’s into it! My sailor … well … probably not. Don’t get me wrong! He sends flowers and leaves gifts while he’s gone so I have NO complaints, but decorating up a box of goodies is just not his wheel house. I’m okay with that, but I still want something nice to look forward to! This can definitely be a DIY project!

Next what’s going in your Halfway Box? Anything you want. We have a policy about not spending too much on Josh’s halfway goodies so the same rule should apply to me. My goody box would include things like:

  • $5 Starbucks gift card or a bag of flavored coffee
  • Scented hand lotion
  • Beef jerky (I loooove it!)
  • A new book or Kindle gift card
  • A bag or box of chocolates
  • A photo of just the two of us
  • A new journal or notebook (I’m a dork when it comes to office supplies!)
  • A video from my sailor (He may not make the box, but he can contribute, right?)
  • A letter from my sailor (See above! ;) )
  • Oh! One of his t-shirts in a ziploc! (Maybe it will still smell like him!)

This is pretty subjective. I’d say add anything that will help you get through a tough day or make you smile when you really need it. You know what those things are, and it’s okay to ask for them or buy them yourself.

Finally, when do you open it? Well, it IS a Halfway box, but if you need a little pick-me-up a little early, who’s going to tell? Who’s even going to know? (My sailor. My sailor would know I opened it early because he knows I have no impulse control and will open gifts immediately!) But who cares? In the name of making it through another day, I say rip that sucker open and go to town!

Toss in some tissue paper, and you’ve got yourself a bonafide Halfway box. Tape it up, save it for a rainy day … or just a Thursday! Whatever it’s your box! Enjoy!

Do you think you’ll make yourself a halfway box? If so, what do you think you’ll put in it? Comments with suggestions so we can ALL have the best Halfway Boxes EVER next time!

Find These 5 Spots On Your Base TODAY

I have to admit. In the past I have absolutely WASTED my time on base. I hit the commissary and maybe browsed the NEX, but I ignored the rest. WHAT A MISTAKE! There are so many great resources and fun things to do on base, and I HATE to think what I’ve missed out on!

My top 5 base resources! If you haven't been using them, you're missing out!

ONE: The Base movie theater! Holy crap! How did I ever miss this?!? On our current base it’s dirt cheap! For less than twenty bucks, my sailor and I can get tickets, drinks, and snacks for the show; out in town $20 barely gets you in the door! Not to mention FREE kids movies on Saturday and the FREE Sneak Peeks at new movies show every other month or so! This is an awesome deal that I’ve missed out on for far too long!

TWO: The Fitness Center! Okay, I’ll be honest. I don’t use the Fitness Center EVER as often as I should, but where else can I work out on great equipment almost anytime of day for FREE?!? Gyms out in town can be CRAZY EXPENSIVE, and you’re often locked into yearly memberships that mean you’ll be paying through the nose for 12 months. Not on base! On base, the gym is free, and the classes are provided at greatly reduced rates for dependents! Who doesn’t want to get in shape and save money at the same time?

THREE: Fleet and Family Support Center! Alright, here’s where I get all weird and Ombudsman-y on you. Fleet & Family is one of the best resources you will find on base, and if you haven’t been to yours, clear your calendar for the day and get there. Whatever your need, Fleet & Family is a one stop resource shop. Need maps of your new area? Got ‘em. Baby on the way? Got ya covered. Need budgeting/financial planning? Done. Marital, personal, or children’s counselling? Of course. Yes. Check and check! Oh! Did I mention the price? FREE!

FOUR: The Bowling Alley! I’m not what you’d called a great bowler … or a good bowler … or an adult who can knock down pins without using kiddie bumpers so I really don’t like the idea of paying a lot of money to play the game. No problem! Our base bowling alley runs deals for families that make it plenty cheap enough for my family of five to enjoy the lanes anytime we want! They also often offer discounts during the summer, on holidays, and report card special for the kids. Thank you!

FIVE: The swimming pool! I may be biased here, but the swimming pool on base is the best thing ever! Not only are the lap lanes open all the time for exercise, but they offer family swim times with big open play areas, life jackets, floaties, and all kinds of toys, and the entry free is ridiculously cheap! My base pool also allows private parties. Two years ago, my little and 20 of her best friends swam for two hours for about 100 bucks. There are NO party places our in town for that price! 

Military bases are full of great amenities for families, and oftentimes their prices can’t be beat! Have you used any of the services on your base? What your favorite? Where do you get your best deal? Leave me a comment below!

#MILFAM Monday Linky Party – Week 2

Last week’s #MILFAM Monday Linky Party was so great! I hope any bloggers who linked up enjoyed it, and I hope my readers benefited from the MANY great posts that were linked up!

MILFAM Monday Linky Party

My feature pick from last week came from Vanessa at Bible, Beer, and Babies with her post, “6 Ways to Support the Military in Your Congregation.” My Family Readiness Group has been very blessed by being adopted by a local church, and we truly appreciate all they do for our families! I hope more church groups will take Vanessa’s advice and offer that support!

Bible Beer and Babies
Are you ready to link up? Here’s the rules …

1. When you link up, please visit at least 2 others and give them some comment love! Please don’t link and run!

2. Each week I’ll choose one post (my favorite, the funniest, the one that makes me tear-up, who knows?) to feature the following week, and I’ll be sharing it everywhere! You need to follow me to see it! Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

4. The more you share this linky party on social media, the better off we all are! You gotta share the love to get the love, right? Don’t forget to use #milfammonday! Please grab my button to help other milspouse bloggers find #milfammonday as well.

Back on Land

5. One last thing … all posts really must be about some aspect of military life, but they can be older posts. So long as we are all sharing the milfam experience!

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Back on Land … The Vlog!

I’ve been teasing something new all week on Facebook and Twitter, and now is the time! Welcome to my first Back on Land Vlog! I’m looking forward to trying out this new platform over the next few weeks, and I can’t wait to hear your feedback!

Oh! And watch to the end to find out how win my giveaway!!!

Click “Leave a comment” ABOVE (not below) this post for your first entry! First vlog mistake on the books! And then click here to follow me on Facebook!

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Save Over $300 PER YEAR With Bountiful Baskets

We all know that no one’s getting rich off Navy pay, and I have three kids (one who will start college in just a blink) so I’m always trying to saving money where I can. Bountiful Baskets is a great way to get quality produce AND save big time

Find out how I save OVER $300 per year on produce!

So what is Bountiful Baskets?

Here’s what they say:

Bountiful Baskets is a group of people who work together for mutual benefit. This is a grassroots, all volunteer, no contracts, no catch co-operative. Since there are no employees at Bountiful Baskets, we as a group pay rock bottom prices on your food. – bountifulbaskets.org

Here’s what I know:

Every other Monday, I log on to my Bountiful Baskets account and buy a share of fruits and vegetables. Sometimes I buy the extras they offer (like large amounts of apples or potatoes); sometimes I just buy my share which costs $19.50 (including the $4.50 handling fee). The following Saturday I drive up to my pick-up point, giggle excitedly as I transfer the contents of two full laundry baskets into my basket, and skip home knowing I’ve saved money and am feeding my family good food! It’s that easy!

So what do I get for $19.50?

Well, it depends on the week. This week we got celery, fennel, butter lettuce, broccoli, squash, and avacadoes in the veggie basket and grapes, apples, limes, pears, a honey dew melon, and bananas in the fruit basket.

Is it worth it?

Absolutely! This week I price checked. Even if I bought each of these items at the Commissary (which we now know IS cheaper), it would have cost me about $33, over than $13 more! Perhaps thirteen dollars doesn’t sound like much, but do the math. If you save $13 every other week for a year, that’s $338 in savings!

What could you do with an extra $338 per year!

If you factor in the “extras” you can buy, you could save even more money. A few weeks ago, I bought a 20 lb. bag of baking potatoes for less then $7. It was a great deal, one that I was able to share with a friend, AND I swear they tasted better the potatoes I normally buy. (I know that sounds crazy … maybe it’s just the savings talking!)

The only downside of Bountiful Baskets is that you don’t get to choose or even know in advance what is coming in your basket. In my experience most of the items are pretty normal, but I’ve had a few surprises that this meat-and-potatoes momma didn’t know what to do with. Kale? No thanks. Artichokes? Couldn’t do it. Fennel? I’m still working that one out right now, but the great thing is if you don’t feel like you might eat something, you can donate it! Any extras or items you don’t want to take home are donated to a local food shelter to help those in need.

So if you’re looking to save more money on your grocery bill (and who isn’t), look up Bountiful Baskets and see if they service your area! You – and your wallet – will be glad you did!

What’s your best money saving tip? Like I said, I’m ALWAYS looking to save MORE MONEY! Help a girl out in the comments!

ONE MORE THING:

Tomorrow I’m bringing something new and a little different to Back on Land. You don’t want to miss it! Plus there will be a little giveaway … but you gotta be here to win! :)

 

FIVE Tips for OVERcoming OVERwhelmed

I am often asked, “Jodi, how do you get it all done?”  I’m a busy gal with three busy kids and a great husband who just happens to be a wee bit busy with a submarine. My schedule is crazy-town all the time. How do I do it? Sometimes I don’t even know.  “Just keep swimming!” and “I think I can! I think I can!” are pretty much my mantras.

But some days … last Saturday for instance … there’s just too much on my plate. Saturday, when all I really wanted to do was sleep in and take a family day, I woke up feeling overwhelmed. The instant my eyes popped open, I just knew … “Today is going to be too much!” All I wanted was to go back to sleep and ignore the long list of chores and errands ahead of me.

But I can’t do that. Lots of people depend on me, and honestly, being able to sleep at night depends on me getting it all done. Here’s how I OVERcome OVERwhelmed.

FIVE Tips for OVERcoming OVERwhelmed!

  1. Make a list. A friend suggested, “Make a list of things that MUST be done, and things that you’d like to get done (in order of actual priority) and then tackle one at a time, and when you get done with each one give yourself some sort of reward (a break, some chocolate, a cup of coffee, etc.)”  That’s great advice! Just seeing it all on paper makes it more manageable.
  2. Now cut the list. After I make my list, I start making cuts. Bountiful Baskets, Commissary, AND Safeway? Good-bye Safeway! Cutting a few jobs off the list that are un-necessary or impossible (homemade Cinderella costume anyone?) lightens the load.
  3. Add to the list. Add something to look forward to. I like to add in a Starbucks stop or a visit with a friend. Like my reader said … give yourself a reward!
  4. Check it off! Seeing more and more jobs crossed off the list makes me work harder. I am a girl who loves a checklist, and seeing tasks one-lined, highlighted, or erased is motivating and energizing!
  5. Outsource. It’s taken me years, but I have finally learned how to ask for help. I give my kids a list of jobs around the house to finish.  I utilize committee members for group activities. I ask friends to help out as well! I’m only one person, but I’m so lucky to have people in my life who pitch in!

As important as it is to me to get it all done, I have learned that I can’t always do it all, and I can rarely do it all alone. It really does take a village! Having a plan, sticking to it, and asking for help when I need helps me “just keep swimming” until “I think I can!” becomes “I knew I could!”

How do you get it all done? Are you a list-person like me, or is it all in your head, like my husband?

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On Friday, I’m bringing something new and a little different to Back on Land. You don’t want to miss it! Plus there might just be a little giveaway … but you gotta be here to win! :)

 

It’s Okay … AT Homecoming

Airing My Dirty Laundry is one of my most favorite blogs, and the fact that she is a military spouse, too, is just the icing on the cake! I always enjoy her weekly series, “Hey, It’s Okay Tuesday!” and have enjoyed linking up every now and then. My “It’s Okay’s” tend to be Navy-wife-life related, but they are also sometimes just the random-ness of my overflowing brain, too. If you’d like to read more of them, just search “It’s Okay” in the form to the right.

  1. To dress to the nines … or to dress for comfort. I’m a comfort girl, and my sailor knows that. He might actually have a heart attack if I ever got all gussied up.
  2. To make a beautiful, clever, glittered up “Welcome Home” sign to wave around like the crazy person that you are on Homecoming Day … or to opt to keep your hands free when you see him …
  3. To make a big, beautiful dinner on his first night home … and then stick in the fridge for tomorrow because your sailor is just craving McDonald’s french fries.
  4. To have missed him sooo much and want nothing more than to be glued to his side as soon as he gets home … and after he takes a good hot shower because … boat smell.
  5. To make him drop ALL his gear, every single thing that he won’t need the very next day, in the garage because … again, boat smell.
  6. To also kind of LOVE boat smell (a mixture of chemicals, rotten eggs, and post-game locker room) … because the only time you ever smell it is when he comes home.
  7. To ignore anything and everyone outside of your home for a bit afterwards … enough said.

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